What is a self-proving affidavit?

If you’re drafting a will, you may have come across the term “self-proving affidavit” — but what does this mean exactly?

Well, a self-proving affidavit is a legal document used by lawyers to establish the validity of your will.

You can create one by writing a statement under oath, with witnesses and a notary public present.

You then need to sign it in their presence (they’ll also need to sign this document). 

So we’ve answered the question, “What is a self-proving affidavit?” Now let’s examine why it’s useful for the executor of your will and its beneficiaries. 

What is the purpose of a self-proving affidavit?

A self-proving affidavit is a type of supporting document for your will. It can help speed up the probate process by proving its authenticity.

The authenticity of both the will and your self-proving affidavit is essentially affirmed by witnesses, who were present when you signed the affidavit and provided a witness signature to demonstrate its legitimacy.

Your witnesses can attest that you, as the testator, were of sound mind and not under duress when making your will. 

What are the benefits of having a self-proving affidavit for my will?

There are several benefits of signing an affidavit to support your will, including:

Peace of mind

The primary benefit of a self-proving affidavit is that it offers peace of mind that your will will be upheld.

Its creation can also reduce hassle and complications when it’s time for it to be executed and, ultimately, help preserve your wishes. 

Streamlined probate proceedings

A self-proving affidavit provides evidence of the will’s validity.

It removes or reduces the need for the court to contact witnesses to testify as to the will’s execution, thus saving time and effort.

Minimized challenges to the will

By providing strong evidence that the will was executed correctly and you were of sound mind, you reduce the likelihood of anyone disputing it.

How to protect your will with a self-proving affidavit form

The following steps will help you protect your will and successfully create a self-proving affidavit.

Consult an attorney

Find an attorney who specializes in estate planning and consult with them first so that your will and self-proving affidavit comply with any specific laws and requirements in your local area. 

Choose witnesses

You’ll need at least two witnesses to affirm the signing of your affidavit.

They should be adults who are not named in the will as beneficiaries.

You should choose witnesses who are likely to be available in the future in case further testimony is needed.

Sign in front of a notary public

Notarizing an affidavit is an essential part of the process.

Schedule an appointment with a notary public who’s authorized to administer oaths and bring your chosen witnesses to the appointment.

The notary public will notarize the self-proving affidavit, administer an oath or affirmation to all signatories, and affix their seal or stamp to the document.

Store your documents safely

Keep your original signed will and self-proving affidavit in a secure location, such as a safe or with your attorney.

You may also wish to provide your loved ones with copies. 

What does a self-proving affidavit sample look like?

The form a self-proving affidavit takes will vary depending on where you live.

This is because different jurisdictions may have different rules about what should be included. 

There are plenty of affidavit form templates you can use to get started. 

Your self-proving affidavit should include the following information:

  1. Your name and full address
  2. The names and addresses of your witnesses
  3. Dated signatures of you and your witnesses
  4. The name and seal of the notary public

Make creating a will easier with PandaDoc’s document management software

If you need any help getting started, PandaDoc can assist you in creating a will and self-proving affidavit, allowing you to tailor these documents to your specific needs.

PandaDoc offers a range of useful templates (including for specific jurisdictions).

With our software to support you, you can be confident you’ve created a valid will and self-proving affidavit to safeguard your wishes long after you’re gone.